It's time to change the clocks — again!
Wednesday, October 30, 2013
California Don't forget to get up early Sunday morning and set your clocks back one hour since Daylight Saving Time officially ends for the year at 2 a.m.
A better idea is to set the clocks back the night before and take that extra hour for sleep.
But even better is the question, "How did we get to the point of being hassled twice a year to change our clocks in the first place?"
In the U.S., official Daylight Saving Time dates back to 1918 and the passage of a congressional act. That act, known as the Calder Act, had two major parts. One was to set the first uniform time zones nationwide, so we would know when our favorite television programs were on, and the second was to establish daylight saving time, so we would know when to change the smoke detector batteries.
Well, not really.
The first was to set uniform time zones, apparently because of the railroads. It must be easier to make trains run on time if the railroad sets the clocks. They began to do that in this country on Nov. 18, 1883. The time zones were made official by the 1918 congressional act for both the railroads and communications, mostly telegraph at that time.
Until the railroads began using standard time in time zones most American communities observed "sun time" or solar time with noon being when the sun was straight overhead.
The reason originally given for the Daylight Saving Time part of the act was to save electricity for seven months of the year for World War I. To say it was unpopular may be an understatement. It was repealed the next year, over a veto by the President.
It was repealed largely because of rebellion by the farm community. The clock does not dictate farm life now, and it dictated it less so then.
Milk cows don't read clocks any better than a family cat. One insists on being milked and the other fed at the old time. So what if the clock has changed?
Daylight Saving Time (DST) was back in effect during World War II, again to save electricity. Called "War Time," it started Feb. 2, 1942, and ended Sept. 30, 1945.
So it was gone again. Until the passage of the Uniform Time Act of 1966. There are two reasons commonly given for DST.
One of those is so people will make better use of daylight.
Many might agree with the idea of making better use of daylight, but wouldn't it really be better for each person to make their own decision about use of daylight hours?
The second reason is to conserve energy.
There are two problems with the idea that DST saves energy. First, studies have shown that use of air conditioning off-sets any saving on lighting. The second is that, with more daylight available for recreation and shopping, more gasoline and diesel are used.
Really, though, it's probably too late. Too much is tied to the time, time zones and DST — work and work schedules, entertainment, whether television, radio or live programming.
The only area which shows hope of being time zone and Daylight Saving Time free is the internet.
Almost anything is available at anytime of the day or night. If you can manage to stay awake after the time changes.
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